How Living Vicariously Through Popular Travel YouTuber Damon Dominique Makes Exploring The World More Accessible To Everyone

Damon Dominque describes himself in his Instagram bio as an expat who “puts the ‘lust’ in wanderlust.” An Indiana indigenous who speaks five languages fluently and has lived in Paris for the last various years, Dominique boasts 221,000 followers on his Instagram and an additional 422,000 on his YouTube channel even though placing out material close to vacation and languages. (He and his most effective pal ran an old channel jointly, amassing about a million subscribers just before they split up.) He credits his like for journey and new locales to watching episodes rising up of MTV’s seminal The True Environment actuality demonstrate, of which he’s found each and every episode of just about every year.

“From a young age, I was just enthralled by travel, lifestyle, and language in spite of becoming from the cornfields of Indiana,” Dominique told me in an interview earlier this thirty day period performed via videoconference.

The origins of Dominique’s occupation grew from multiple roots. Dollars, of training course, was a driving power. Dominique describes the need to journey and develop into culturally literate has constantly been there, but in the early yrs he was “always broke.” It’s not straightforward to globetrot when you don’t have a lot dollars, immediately after all. Furthermore, Dominique was bored with all the journey vlogs that concentration on food items as a vegan, he felt there wasn’t a great deal out there that was considerate of his nutritional decisions. “That’s form of the angle I’ve been going with [with the channel]—every other portion of the journey market aside from food—languages, culture, [and] regulation,” Dominique reported.

For Dominique, the linguistic ingredient to journey is the critical to accomplishment.

“I’d say there is under no circumstances been a far more available way or available time to discover a language—you don’t truly have to vacation any more. You can do it all on line: you can Zoom, you can FaceTime every single solitary working day with anyone from the place,” he explained. “I continue to do it to this working day to hold up my language expertise. I’m reserving classes and undertaking it all on the web. I’ve in no way even met these people. I wouldn’t get to do anything at all I do if the world wide web had been not all-around. It’s [been] a blessing.”

Dominique’s vocation as a journey vlogger ties in effectively with disability and accessibility despite it not becoming a actual emphasis of his. To wit, individuals with disabilities are, for the most aspect, relegated to stay in poverty for myriad, arguably ableist, factors. To qualify for any sort of governmental support or social company, the expectation by the bureaucracy is that users of the incapacity local community continue being inadequate indefinitely. For Domonique’s applications, that suggests journey is not possible thanks to the expenditure concerned. So it goes with discovering a international language. As an alternative of fumbling with a standard guidebook or a very similar app these as the preferred Duolingo or Rosetta Stone, interested parties can as an alternative signal up for one of Domonique’s programs.

Of training course, the driver for these opportunities is technological know-how. It is the internet. As he famous, were being it not for the existence of YouTube or TikTok or Instagram, Domonique wouldn’t be in a position to do what he does. Likewise, journey and languages would not be accessible to hundreds of thousands of disabled folks who are unable, for a wide range of causes, to traipse the planet in search of cultural enlightenment. The electrical power engineering wields allows illustrate the final silver lining of the many years-prolonged pandemic the pandemic has forced the mainstream to finally confront the fact how tech can make the world a more available area when life alterations substantially.

Domonique patterns his movies and language programs to be as sensible and effortless to use as attainable for his clients. Linguistically, for case in point, he does not want men and women to be bogged down with what he calls “catchphrases and textbook jargon.” Dominque wants individuals to master a language—rather than empty, random verbiage, he wants individuals to reside with it as greatest they can to definitely internalize it.

Currently being the American in Paris he is, dwelling with French is a requirement for Domonique.

“I wouldn’t have been ready to do the issues I have completed below: open a bank account, renew my visa, discover an apartment, sign the lease, if I did not communicate French,” he stated. “I assume that is where individuals are locating my French course in the initially location. They’re acquiring my films, I’m documenting all this—I’m documenting me, attempting to get my repairman to clearly show up for the reason that he hardly ever displays up. These are all video clips on my channel. Men and women see me talking in French and really interacting with everyday daily life. That conjures up them. They are like, ‘Oh, if this dude can do it, then I can.’”

“When you have to simply call your landlord or do your taxes in French, you far better know [how to speak] French,” Dominique additional with a chortle.

Feed-back on his films and programs has been optimistic, Dominque explained to me. He’s “shocked” at the sales numbers for his courses, and gets many DMs of individuals sharing screenshots of the lesson strategies they’re doing work on that working day. He shared an anecdote of a man or woman he heard from who works in an emergency space someplace in Europe (Dominique couldn’t remember exactly). The person informed him of a lady who came into an ER seeking for care for her damaged arm—but they only spoke French. “How gorgeous,“ Dominique discussed to me, that this girl who took my [French] system was ready to converse with this very poor female in the crisis area? She was the only 1 who could communicate with [the woman].”

The poignancy of the aforementioned story is portion of what fuels Dominique to continue to keep pushing forward on his work. “[Travel and languages] was constantly what I was passionate about, from the beginning,” he claimed.

Dominique is a accurate believer of the electric power of languages to connect men and women by communication. He has designs to expand his language choices, and has altered his total business enterprise approach based mostly on the successes of his videos and of his classes. He has a e-book, You Are A World-wide Citizen: A Guided Journal For The Culturally Curious, coming out in mid-January, and even pitched a principle for a Television demonstrate.

“My mission is just to choose what I’ve been undertaking digitally [and] socially and continue to keep increasing it… I nonetheless see [myself] traveling this world for the relaxation of my life. I’m not contented staying in one position, even listed here in Paris, my desire metropolis. Just after a couple many years, I’m prepared to go to the subsequent a single. There’s just far too considerably to see,” Dominique mentioned.

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